Research

The goal of research conducted in this lab is to understand how best to develop effective, engaging, and efficient prevention, intervention, and service delivery models for youth at high-risk for and those affected with Disruptive Behavior Disorders (i.e., Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, and/or Conduct Disorder) and related conditions. An important focus is on children that are considered at heightened risk for poor outcomes owing to the presence of multiple contextual, familial, and inter/intrapersonal risk factors. Below are our current studies. If you are interested in learning more about any particular study, please do contact us.

Ongoing Research Projects/Areas of Interest: 

Activate: Evaluation of a Computerized Training Program for Children with ADHD

Is Your Child Overactive or Easily Distracted? Does your child: Have a hard time sitting still? Have difficulty paying attention? Have trouble listening and following instructions? Have an inability to focus? Constantly go, go, go? If you said “yes” to one of these behaviors, you may be interested in our free evaluation and non-medication treatment research study. The research study is evaluating whether a computerized brain training program that targets eight brain functions (e.g., attention, memory) will improve academic achievement, social skills, family functioning, and symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To be eligible, your child must be between 7-11 years old, the parent and child must be fluent in English, the family must have a computer with internet access at home, and the child must be diagnosed with ADHD through the assessment conducted at our lab. 

Please contact us by phone 212-992-7699 or by email faceslab@nyu.edu

Improving response to a Multiple Family Groups for Youth with Disruptive Behavior Disorders through smart phone mobile applications

In collaboration with Dr. Mary McKay at New York University, we are involved in the development and preliminary evaluation of a smartphone mobile health application that supports behavioral skills implementation (i.e., homework) to a Multiple Family Group (MFG) intervention for youth with disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs). This project is funded through a 2-year research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and aims at determining whether including a mobile health application can help better support families in using the skills they’ve learned while participating in treatment to their day-to-day lives.

Treatment Engagement in Youth with ADHD and DBDs

Youth with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBDs) often are prescribed certain evidence-based interventions for their difficulties. However, engagement to these interventions is a significant issue. Many, if not most, youth with ADHD who are on medication do not adhere to their medication as prescribed by their physician. For those youth with ADHD or DBDs who participate in psychosocial intervention, engagement is equally problematic. This is concerning given that medication, particularly stimulant medication, and psychosocial interventions, particularly behavioral interventions, can be highly effective interventions for youth with ADHD and/or DBDs. The FACES lab, in collaboration with colleagues, is trying to better understand the factors related to less-than-optimal engagement to these interventions prior to, in the acute phase of treatment, and during the maintenance phase of treatment. We are also working with colleagues on better understanding parent preferences for treatment and its impact on engagement. Our goal, through a series of studies conducted utilizing existing data as well as primary studies, is to develop a model of engagement that can ultimately lead to targeted approaches to improve intervention engagement for youths with or at risk for ADHD and/or DBDs.

Adaptive Treatment Designs

Effective, engaging, and efficient service delivery models for youth with mental health difficulties are necessary to improve the often poor, long-term functioning of affected youth. There is increasing recognition that in order for intervention/service delivery models to meet the needs of youth, these models must be tailored to the unique profile of these youth and must be flexible over time as a function of the youth’s response to treatment. Adaptive Treatment Design approaches are one way in which interventions are dynamically tailored and delivered over time in order to maximize effectiveness, engagement, and efficiency. We have been interested in considering what are critical questions to which adaptive treatment designs may be a useful methodology to utilize and how best to utilize these designs, keeping in mind the clinical, financial, and regulatory constraints of the practice setting. 

Completed Research: 

We are fortunate to have several colleagues throughout New York City who share our vision of research and service to support children’s social and emotional health, and we often have collaborative relationships with our colleagues on these studies. Below we describe recent collaborations.

RAMP Study for Youth with ADHD

Funded through a three-year treatment development grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Refining Attention Memory and Parenting (RAMP) study addresses whether a combination of an evidence-based computerized working memory program, which supports improvements in memory skills in children, combined with an evidence-based parenting program, which supports parents’ ability to effectively manage their child’s behavior, will improve the social, emotional and academic functioning of youth with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Enrollment in this project is currently closed.  Several papers describing the conceptual model of the intervention, issues in neurocognitive treatment for ADHD, and outcomes of various aspects of the study are available (see Publications section).

Enhancing Fathers Ability to Support their Preschool Child

Engaging parents in prevention efforts is always challenging. One group that has notable challenges is fathers. Traditionally, males have often underutilized health services and have taken a secondary role in the caregiving of their children, although they play a critical role in the successful development of their children. In an effort to address this issue, we have received a three-year research grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and pilot test an intervention comprised of multiple evidence-based components that target language/literacy in young children in order to engage and intervene in the relationship between fathers and their preschool child. We are fortunate to partner with Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens in this research project. The project is currently closed and publications are forthcoming.

NIPA

In collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Halperin at Queens College, City University of New York, we are involved in the Non-pharmacological Interventions for Preschool ADHD (NIPA) study, a new research program funded through a three-year treatment development grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for preschool children (ages 4-5 year olds) with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The novel intervention focuses on improving ADHD symptoms and related functional impairments in young children with ADHD through supporting the use of engaging games that parents play with their children to promote executive functioning skills. This study is currently closed and publications are forthcoming.

Multiple Family Groups for Youth with Disruptive Behavior Disorders

In collaboration with Dr. Mary McKay at New York University, we are involved in the evaluation of a Multiple Family Group (MFG) service delivery model for youth with disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs). This study has just recently been completed and was conducted across 12 community mental health sites across New York City and Long Island with the primary aim to determine whether the MFG model can better engage families in mental health services for their child with DBD and improve the social and emotional functioning of these youth. This project was funded through a 5-year research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. Several papers have recently been published describing the acute and longer-term benefits of the MFG model (see Publications section).